The region of Puglia is authentic and unique, as its food. The best way to experience the beautiful Italian life it’s diving in the delicious food from Puglia. There are so many tasty places where you can go and eat and this is the reason behind our choice to write a complete Puglia food guide.
During our one week in Puglia, we had the pleasure to enjoy the most delicious food ever. From the local wine to the traditional Orecchiette pasta, Puglian food is one of the best we have ever tried. Are you ready to discover the most delicious things to eat in Puglia? Let’s dream about this tasty food!
What to eat in Puglia
In the following Puglia food guide, we’ll walk you through some delicious plates that you have to try while exploring this region. From the typical Puglia food “Orecchiette” to the tasty wine, the below dishes are all worth trying.
Remember that, if you are in Italy, you can’t be on a diet as the food is so irresistible that you can’t say no.
Let’s discover the best food in Puglia
Not many know that Puglia produces the highest quantity of wheat in the whole of Europe. Not only big quantities but also the best quality of durum wheat. This gives Puglia more points in terms of the production of pasta, which distinguish the Apulian Cuisine (the Pugliese Cuisine). Italy is famous for its pasta dishes, however in Puglia, you won’t find just the normal pasta, you will taste the typical “Orecchiette”. Known as “Little ears” this variety of pasta is the most famous pasta type in Puglia.
Who doesn’t love pasta? In fact, travelling to Puglia, especially in Bari, you have to try Orecchiette with tomatoes or Orecchiette con le cime di rapa. This is Broccoli Rabe, so ideal also for vegan and vegetarian. This particular pasta is famous, especially in Bari, the Region Capital. While strolling around the historical city centre, you’ll find the famous lady on the street making fresh Orecchiette.
The region of Puglia is famous for many things, for its pasta, wine and especially for its cheese. Burrata is a typical cheese famous in this region. Just to let you understand, think about a Mozzarella from Naples, Burrata has almost the same shape but the inside is filled with cheese.
If you are having something light for lunch like a salad you can easily add a Burrata (soft cheese similar to mozzarella) for a bit of more taste. While in Puglia don’t forget to try the delicious and tasty Cacioricotta, Stracciatella and Caciocavallo. All of them are different types of cheese and you’ll love them all. In some shops, you’re able to buy some of these cheeses and have the opportunity to bring some at home.
You might think that vegetable dishes are not something typical in Italy, in this case, you’re wrong. This is the main ingredient of the Cuisine of Puglia. This will be the perfect part of our Puglia food Guide, ideal for Vegan and Vegetarian. It doesn’t matter when you’re planning to spend one week in Puglia, you need to give these dishes an opportunity.
One of the most famous plates is Fave and Cicoria (Fava beans and chicory) which will taste amazing anywhere you’ll go. Another delicious dish to add to your list is the tasty Parmigiana di Melanzane (made with aubergine, hypercaloric).
As Italian we use to add bread to our dishes, it’s the best way to taste better the food. We love bread and in Puglia, we found the most delicious one. If you’re visiting Puglia, especially Altamura, here you’ll find the most famous type of bread in the region.
During summer you might want to try the fresh Frisella (hard bread) which has got a circular shape with a small hole inside. It’s very popular during the summer months as it’s something easy and quick to prepare. Top it with olive oil, tomatoes and basil and you’ll see how delicious it is.
Seafood & Fish Dishes
If you’re a seafood lover, you’re in the right place. In Italy in general seafood recipes are famous but in Puglia, there are a couple of dishes that you need to try.
Baccalà alla Salentina (basically cod) which is usually made in the oven together with vegetables. If you don’t like cod you can try swordfish with vegetables or fries which is another typical recipe from Puglia.
In many towns, you can find fresh seafood every day. If you are a travel addict to local markets, you might find your best day, waking up early in the morning enjoying a visit to the local seaport with a fresh market. Areas like Bari, Lecce and Otranto have got picturesque local fresh fish markets.
Overall meat is not the main dish in Puglia. Despite that, the Region can still say something about traditional meat dishes. You might find some good meat visiting the internal side of the Region, places like Valle D’Itria are perfect for that. This part hosts some of the best restaurants in Puglia.
Visiting Cisternino, a small whitewashed town near Martina Franca, midway by the popular Alberobello, you can try the Bombette. Intriguing right? The bombette are rolls made of pork and filled with local cheese. The name might come from that, which translated it’s “small bombs”. As we mentioned Martina Franca, you should know that this city is famous for its “Capocollo” which is produced from the pork of the Murgia.
You can find meat tradition everywhere in this part of Puglia, the local production of prosciutto, salami, sausage it’s huge and tasty.
You might try the local food with a glass of Puglia wine. Many associate Puglia just with the production of the best quality olive oil, however the climate condition favour the production of a unique wine.
If you’re an Italian lover, you might know that there are many regions famous for their wine within the Peninsula. In your Puglia food tour, you should try the varieties of wines that the region has to offer. Starting from Primitivo, Negroamaro and ending with the Nero di Troia.
When eating at a local restaurant, be keen to try the local wine. Their traditional glass comes from local producers. In this case, you are helping a local small business and trying the best quality, organic production and Km 0.
Adding a dessert to your Puglia food tour is a must! From the delicious and fresh ice-cream to the tasty Pasticciotto in Lecce. If after your dinner you’re looking to eat something sweet, here is our suggestion. In Southern Italy, it is really popular for midnight croissants. It’s not a typical croissant that you eat for breakfast, this “Cornetto” is your moment of happiness before going to bed. You can find many bars and bakeries which are doing them. It doesn’t matter in which part of Puglia you are, if you’re asking a local where to eat the midnight croissant, they will direct you into the right place.
Puglia street food to try
Now, after giving you a list of typical Apulia food, we move to the best part of Puglian food: Street food! Below you will find the best street food to try in Puglia which is great if you want to try the real taste of this region.
Here we’re touching base with our favourite food from Puglia. Panzerotti is a fried calzone containing tomato and cheese. It’s the best take away food that you can opt for when travelling around Puglia. You can find Panzerotti in any local bakery shops and we suggest you buy them around lunchtime because they are always fresh and just made.
This handmade pizza is made with fresh ingredients, cheese and vegetables. There are so many types of Pizza Rustica, in Lecce, you will find the popular Rustico Leccese. This is a crunchy pastry filled with tomato and mozzarella. This typical snack can be served as an appetizer. You might find it on the side while ordering an aperitif at a local bar.
For sure after trying it for the first time, it will be a must-have while exploring Lecce or any city in the Salento peninsula.
You might understand that one thing attracted us to Puglia. Food’s just one of the reasons why Puglia is worth visiting. The food that you will try in Puglia will be the best one you have ever tried.
Focaccia Barese is a popular street food in Puglia. In fact, during our day trips from Bari, we were buying this oven-baked bread to take with us. There are so many versions of focaccia but traditionally it comes with roasted cherry tomatoes, olive oil and olives. It’s a paradise for your palate.
Really popular across Puglia, Puccia is a small round flatbread full filled with fresh and tasty ingredients. We first tried Puccia in Bari in a very popular place called Mastro Ciccio. LINK TripAdvisor?
There are two different types of Puccia. One which is made with pizza dough and baked in a wood-fired oven and another one which is fried. Both are delicious so it doesn’t matter which one you try. The inside is filled with anything that you want, from bacon and egg to salami and mozzarella. Basically, in your Puglia food tour, you have to try this yummy product.
Taralli is a typical snack popular in Southern Italy. With its ring-shaped, taralli are made with white wine and olive oil. Usually, in restaurants, together with the wine, they bring you a small bag of taralli to eat with your antipasto (starter).
For sure, Taralli is one of the things to eat in Puglia and if you want, you can buy a small bag to bring back home with you. Another way to tasty this Puglia typical street food, it’s just with a beer, watching the seaside at sunset. Idyllic right?
We almost talked about only savoury food but we couldn’t miss a bit of sweet as well. Pasticciotto is very famous in the city of Lecce and usually is eaten warm during breakfast.
In Italy, a typical Italian breakfast is made with sweet pastry and coffee. There are so many different types of Pasticciotto made across the region of Puglia. You might find the one made with lemon, chocolate, pistachio and even vanilla. All the types are delicious and worth trying.
Where to eat in Puglia | Puglia food guide
If you have a friend from Puglia, we suggest you text him and let him know that you’re going to Puglia. Being with a local will allow you to experience real Puglian food. Don’t worry if you don’t have a friend from Puglia because we’ve listed a couple of places that will make you feel at home. Choosing the right place where to eat in Puglia might be difficult if you don’t know where to go and what’s typical.
We recommend you to check out the local Masseria which are large estates usually built by locals. You can find many of these around your road trip in Puglia and to be honest, it’s one of the best places if you want to try food from Puglia.
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Food Festival in Puglia
As a diverse cultural food Region, Puglia hosts some of the most vibrating food festivals in the entire country. While discovering the endless landscapes you might stop by some little villages along with the way and taste pieces of the great “Cucina Povera”. This term means dishes made with cheap, fresh products.
While in the south the Food Festival sees the main recipe seafood, in the centre there are typical events based on the Cucina Povera. Visiting Puglia in February it’s good to know that in Celenza Valfortore it’s hosted the Octopus Festival. Other festivals worth to be named are the “Sagra dei Tarallucci e Vino” in Alberobello, which take place in April. In May the place to visit Turi, with the “Railway Cherry Festival”, this part of Puglia it’s the humble origins of the trees of this quality cherry.
In June in Brindisi, you can enjoy the “Negramaro Wine Festival”. The real Festival we want you to enjoy it’s the “Notte della Taranta”. This is not proper a food festival, but more a folklore festival, the biggest in Italy and the most significant in the whole of Europe. This festival takes place in August. Check when the Notte della Taranta is taking place this year.
Q&A about Puglia food guide
What is the most famous food in Puglia?
Puglia is known for its pasta, production of olive oil and wine. For sure, one of the things you need to try while spending a week in Puglia is the traditional Orecchiette. Fresh pasta made with tomato sauce and basil.
What is there to eat and drink in Puglia?
What to eat in Puglia:
What is Puglia wine?
Puglia is known even for its production of wine thanks to its massive output of grapes. There are so many unique types of wine that you can try in the heel of Italy. Over than a local production of wine that might vary, there are popular brands that you might find exported in your local supermarket. The Primitivo, it’s the most authentic local wine you will find in Italy, and it’s hard to drink it abroad. However the Nero di Troia it’s easy to find in specific stores that sell wine. The local Puglian wine it’s controlled and protected, check the label and with it in mind, you will drink a great glass of Italian wine.